Tag Archives: opinion

The Awareness Cycle – Noticing without Judging

You can’t help but notice

You’re driving in traffic, then you stop at a stop light.
As cars going other directions pass by you, people actually turn their heads a bit to keep looking at you. I suppose we all do this.
I wonder about what I’ve seen in these split seconds seeing a face or a look. I glimpse into all these different people’s lives as they turn the pages for me in a drive-by.
There is information available about a person at first sight. It may be wrong or accurate, you don’t know, but it gives you a first thought.
You start with thoughts on them but quickly it turns to what you think. You get into your opinions and either reinforce or refute what went through your head.

I’m not saying to judge it

We look, we become aware of it. We think about it.
Noticing is not judging.
Bringing up an opinion you have for consideration is not judging either.
There is a distinction.
It’s open for information.
Judging is placing your opinion on someone else.
Having a closely held opinion or belief is a personal decision that you alone can mold, whereas judging is insisting that your values be in place in others lives – dangerous territory.
This is separate from laws under which we all maintain civility, mind you.
We take in what we see everywhere we go.
Noticing is step one, judging is step four.
Is this why people shop where they do – aligning with a particular store over a competitor, because “my kind of people” shop there?
The same with brands we use.
Are we making evaluations of our associations in the marketplace over other reasons?
I propose that we are more often than we think.
There are several factors but many will pay more to shop at one store simply because they want to be seen there and not seen at the other store.
Does this approach carry into other areas of relationships?
This creeps into judgement territory.
Fitting in is a double-edged sword that extends beyond high school.
Aside from the moral complications, it’s too much drama that’s allowed in.
I want to be active in the first three steps but I don’t want to live in step four.
I do the same thing at Wal-Mart that I do when the car passes me or when I’m stopped at an intersection – I look, I probably turn my head a little, sometimes I just say wow.
Saying wow is step three. If it becomes step four, its time to back up.
Step 1 – Notice
Step 2 – Process what information we have.
Step 3 – Consider your opinions, shape them into beliefs.
Step 4 – Judging
ooh, squirrel! – there’s something else to notice.

What’s With The Bumper Sticker Anyway?

What I want you to know about me fits on an 11″ x 3″ rectangle

The bumper sticker is so analog. It’s such an archaic way to tell us what you think.


First off, We don’t care that much about yours.
At best it’s amusing. At worst, those who don’t agree will give you a look – you know that look too.
What’s with the need to even display such a statement? My dog is smarter than your honor student, or Calvin peeing on Chevy or something political.
That’s the first thing you want us to know about you? Are you out to travel around and spread the word or do you just want to be known for that opinion-above all the other ones you got?


It’s kinda passive aggressive, avoiding any discussion about the controversy you wanted us to see. You’re making some really big statement and there is no discussion available.
Of course, what passers by do with it pulls them down a level too.
If someone doesn’t agree, the look in passing is the entire discussion. It’s about all they can give to the conversation. “I don’t like your bumper sticker. Let’s get a look at you…aaah, well you must be an idiot. We’re done here, also as I pass, I’m gonna have my car give you a little attitude, so be ready for that.”


I’m not saying I have an alternative yet, but I just see the flaws in this particular one.
What if each car’s license plate number could be texted, and the bumper stickers were digital displays of their message but also could post messages from the people in traffic. Now we’re headed into new territory. All the controversial ones would get people texting so often that the owner would just tear it off.
It might end badly.
People are a bit too used to the car being protected environment to spout off in.
Maybe the bumper sticker will be a catalyst for social change?


…maybe not.


Certain cars are more likely to have an opinion rectangle.
It’s usually a Prius or a Subaru.
Bumpers, in fact, the entire backs of these vehicles are very often get to know me space.
It’s the rear window for trucks. Or mudflaps reserved for naked women silhouettes.
You’re forcing us all to talk about you behind your back, and it probably isn’t good.


I guess everybody has their drive-by opinions, some just display theirs.
Come to think of it, that’s what Facebook has become for many.
The repetitive bumper sticker.
I get your political opinion already. Extreme? Nooo, not to you. Other than getting to know you, what are you hoping to accomplish with all your opinions you’re calling facts? Right or wrong, your Facebook page, like your bumper sticker makes me want to know you less.


Opinion vs Judgement

Your Opinion can grow up

Your opinion is a collection of your experiences.
How you feel about them shapes what you think.
Your experiences can include what parents or other influencers
told you out of their opinions.


You move on your opinions, they shape your path and are what people know of you.
Judgements are deeper, more final.
We don’t know what final really is, but it’s definitely bigger than us.
Judgement is not for us to give if we are to live a healthy life.
It places you in the “I’m bigger than you” category.
Judging is opinion taken to fact. A sort of fact we can’t know.
One way is not good for all people. We ‘re too diverse.
It would be stifling and there would be no progress.

Why do we struggle with differences of opinion?


To clarify, there are laws designed to protect us from bad behavior.
There are commandments in the Bible that assert much of the same as what our laws are.
Police and court judges enforce the rules.
There are differences between your opinion, your judgement and the rules for us all to live by.


Much of acceptance comes from learning what things you will not waver from and which you will.
Much of acceptance then is allowing yourself to interact without reserve to those who hold a different mindset.
#Opinion Without Opposition Is Ignorance
To have an opinion without knowledge of it’s opposite, is ignorance. Having an experience with people who live that opposition to your viewpoint is a more informed decision through your observation. It tests your current way of thinking.
You can choose to solidify your thoughts or change them based upon experienced information.
You have a standard your opinion was decided upon. You don’t have to be swayed if you have friends that think differently.
Accept it as their take on life. Connect where you can.
Judgement is left for the courts and your God.
It really can free you up to be simpler and more convinced that you are only working on yourself, not the rest of humanity who will resist you as you attempt to be your best.
Rules without relationship leads to rebellion.


Form your opinions, go live through some experiences to get them.
But do stop short of judgement, if I may suggest.
Nobody likes it, including your own mind.




Can we have more creative conversatons?

Is conversation only sharing opinions?

One of the premier principles of improvisational acting
is that you go with whatever line is given to you –
you build on it.
From that point you give credit and credibility
to the actor you’re ad-libbing with.
In the TV show “Who’s line is it anyway?” have you ever
heard them oppose each other?
What comes from that is more fun to be around
because it’s collaborative and challenging.
The interaction gains momentum and feeds
off of the unexpected.
That’s where it’s interesting.

Isn’t that the same as in any every day conversation too?
I wonder if taking the other person’s position to start with
would bring better outcomes every day.
It doesn’t mean we are accepting their position in total,
it means, for that moment, a creative conversation
based on their position could be tried.
More often I hear somebody refuting
and changing the position.

Since the internet gave more people than ever a voice,
it seems that the influx of opinions are crowding us.
There are more influences than ever.
Many using less than positive means.
Fear and force is what many default to.

But what if it didn’t have to be that way?
Of course, it doesn’t.
Consistency of character will be heard longer
and with more influence than a negative force.

If you try starting from the position of the person
you are talking with, you will almost have to get creative.
Try it even once in your day.
Start from somewhere your mind isn’t used to.
Don’t refute, go with it.
At that point a question is as close to refuting
as you would need to get.

Shake it up. It’s your day.
People aren’t convincing anybody with negativity,
it’s not that engaging in the long run.

Try something new.
Who’s Life is it anyway?
Go with it.




Global Warming is a real trigger–


Whose opinion engines are revving
with just the term thrown out there?
For now, It doesn’t matter what your position is on it.



If we’re having a discussion that matters,
especially when it’s about anything of hot topic controversy,
one with a headline term all it’s own,
be aware of what’s actually being discussed.
Know what is really happening between us.
Conversation is relation.
If you can’t get beyond the term and your stance
in order to have a discussion about the topic
then we won’t be having a discussion at all.


In a recent exchange, the topic was a shift in the temperatures
we are getting in the past number of years,
it’s specific effects locally and what it might change into the future.
There were statistics read, which was the impetus for the talk.
There was interest in what the warmer temps were doing
to the economy and to the flora and fauna.
That’s plenty for a discussion – what a certain region is experiencing.
Not globally, but right in that spot.
The discussion was not about why it is happening.
It was about what outdoor lovers love and how it affects them.


When a conversation shifts or gets hijacked
to the headline term and that only,
it becomes political and mob mentality
can take over.
It’s not a discussion at all, but rather, a diatribe.
There’s no thinking or relating, but instead it’s
the same thing that’s been said before.
The result is that it stops the discussion.
And guess what, you’ve just lost your ability
to influence me in any way towards what you
might feel strongly about.


When you’re in a conversation,
realize that it is a conversation.
Keep it to where there is a give and take.
Notice when we’re not talking about
what you think we’re talking about.
Please don’t get caught in the term
because it stops real discussion.
If you do this continually then I will have to
limit my time spent with you.
You are then only proving to be a one-way time soak.
I’m not in a sauna here.
I got better things to do than be
hit over the head with your opinion bat.



I was called out for doing something in my work day that was uniquely me.
It was how I write emails to business associates.
I communicate like I am talking to them personally.
This was a bother to one associate of mine.
So was I comfortable being called out for doing something that obviously was wrong,
even inept in another person’s mind?
I went very quickly from feeling belittled, or allowing me to think less of myself because of another scholastically reinforced opinion, to feeling better about my individuality.
I made a choice all by myself, to be me to another person.
The only thing I can contribute is what comes from me.
Regurgitating ad nauseam that which is covered by others in ways that didn’t include me, isn’t me being me.
I want to get people information so they can understand but I also want them to get it from me. You don’t have to agree or even like it but when I write that way, that’s what talking to me is like.
It’s all been done before.
In music, when I wrote, I knew that every note has been played and there isn’t much truly new that can be produced. That doesn’t stop art from coming out of me and being put into a format that wouldn’t be exactly the same if I wasn’t involved.
That is art.
Art is defined by it’s imperfections as my mentor Jeff Casey & his, Nik Venet taught me.
He also said that “anyone can sing, anyone can write a song but not everybody tells the truth and it’s the truth that reaches people.”
Wise. And applicable beyond songwriting.
This is another way of saying what’s already been said – Be yourself.
Don’t be afraid.
Grow so that you can always be a better version of yourself.
Look around you, including a 180º look back at your work on occasion so you can measure your growth. Maybe even enjoy some of what you’ve done. It’s impactful to appreciate.
It’s good to find yourself being comfortable with what used to be uncomfortable.
Know the rules, and then break a few here and there if it’s of benefit.
It’s a sign of growing if you’re doing things that make you a little uncomfortable.
Live in it.


An acquaintance is busy telling me their opinion
about what I do, which is an entire post all to itself,
but at the end of our close contact non-confrontation
he offers me an altoid, the curiously strong breath mint.

I’ve heard this quoted before but I realized this in a whole new and personal way.
My thought is this:
When someone offers you a breath mint or piece of gum,
take it – not personally – just take it.

Does anybody think they have bad breath? I kinda don’t think so. Not unless it’s pretty obvious. When I’m pretty sure I have the hals, I’ll talk with my hand over my mouth when I’m in close talking situations, like around a computer screen.
Hey, I know I had onions.
Even if I can’t smell it, it adds up wrong.
The breath mint offer is, by my estimation, about the nicest way to give that hint.

Why would you turn it down?